Rainforest Accelerator

Is your technology ready for the market?

  • Receive $3,000 for to fund market discovery efforts and proof-of-concept prototyping
  • Explore the transition of your technology to the marketplace through 10 weeks of entrepreneurial training from the Rainforest Accelerator
  • Determine the value proposition, customer, the size of the market, and market trends for your technology.
  • Receive a dedicated mentor to provide one-on-one guidance through the program and the responsible Innovation Manager from UNM Rainforest Innovations will also participate
  • Learn to use tools such as Slack and Zoom
  • Conduct 25-100 discovery interviews, provide a formal presentation to investors at the end of the program to receive feedback on the commercialization opportunity of your technology.

Qualifications to apply for the Rainforest Accelerator:

  • Be a faculty or student member at the University of New Mexico
  • Have disclosed the underlying technology in your application to UNM Rainforest Innovations in an invention or copyright disclosure form before submitting an application.

Accepting applications now for Fall 2023 Rainforest Accelerator!

The deadline to apply is September 24, 2023.

The program will run on Mondays, 4:00pm-5:30pm from October 2, 2023 - December 4, 2023 online via Zoom meetings. The Final Presentations will be December 4, 2023, 4pm-7pm at the Lobo Rainforest Building.

Apply Here

Application Requirements:

  • Contact information of Team members (UNM lead and any additional team members).
  • Description of technology/idea
  • Summary of problem being solved

Program Overview

The Rainforest Accelerator will encourage and support entrepreneurial researchers from the University of New Mexico to explore commercial viability of their technologies, create new start-up businesses, generate business models, and submit proposals to other funding opportunities. Lean LaunchPad training will be incorporated as the overall entrepreneurial training curriculum and the Online Kauffman Founders School entrepreneurial training. There will be 2 cohorts of 10 teams per year.  The Rainforest Accelerator is administered by UNM Rainforest Innovations.

The Rainforest Accelerator goal is to assist teams of faculty and/or post-doctoral or graduate students to go outside of their laboratories and into the marketplace where they can learn first-hand about entrepreneurship while they explore and validate the commercial landscape surrounding their innovation.

The outcomes of program projects will include a recommendation based on an assessment of the viability of the overall business model and substantial first-hand evidence for or against product-market fit, with a definition of the customer segments and corresponding value propositions.

In this program, teams of faculty, students, entrepreneurs, and mentors (mentors provided by the Rainforest Accelerator) receive funding ($3,000) to develop an idea, and complete extensive market discovery for a disclosed UNM technology.

Lean LaunchPad Curriculum

Each selected team will participate in weekly trainings using the Lean LaunchPad (LLP) curriculum and methodology.

Created, developed, and taught by entrepreneurs, the Lean Launch is an experience-based program focused around a “business model canvas”, where teams make hypotheses about important aspects of their business model, such as who their key partners and main markets will be, go out and interview experts in the field, and then come back and refine their hypotheses based on the data from the interviews.

Selected teams will leave the workshop possessing a solid understanding of what is necessary to achieve an economic impact with a particular innovation.

If you have any questions about the program, you can email cmichaliszyn@innovations.unm.edu.